Mojo's Dojo // 100 days 🍡

Writing to learn, learning to write. With practice comes clarity of purpose. #100days

Why our listening needs an upgrade.

There's a sense of wonderment when travelling with little familiarity with the language of a country you visit for the first time. If you travel without a phone or without connecting to the internet, it becomes difficult to navigate the streets, food, and local culture without patience and curiosity.

However, if you've ever understood two or three words while ordering a meal, receiving directions, or checking out of a supermarket, you'll recognize that sliver of a beautiful feeling you can get sometimes. It's the feeling of recognition, achievement, a fleeting familiarity reflected in the face of the person you're speaking with. Followed by a tiny boost of "I can do this!"

What you did was pay extreme attention to your environment, mainly because it's new, partly because it's necessary for your survival. Your listening skills were on overdrive and you were in total focus. Compare that to your trip from home to work and back. You're probably on autopilot, taking the same route home, listening to a podcast on your queue of podcasts. For all intents, you are no longer paying attention.

It so happens that our work can fall into similar patterns, offices and now zoom rooms full of people not paying attention. Would you be able to tell if your colleague put a recorded video of themselves on a company call? Probably not. Don't believe me? See this guy do it for a week without getting caught.

But wait! back to your vacation, there was one thing that made it possible for you to feel that tiny boost of "I can do this!" when you got that meal order right in French. You were being paid attention to. That conversation was facilitated by the waiter, from the moment they showed up with the menu, to the minute they walk away, a conversation was facilitated, that left you beaming with accomplishment. That same conversation, at your local diner, may not get you as excited, because, you'd be paying a lot less attention.

Why can't our interactions at work be as magical as being on vacation and ordering bread at a French bistro in Paris?

What's the difference between the French waiter and you at work? The waiter gets to practice facilitating, experimenting, listening and paying attention at every interaction.

How many times have you had the chance to facilitate a magical interaction? One that left the people in the room thinking "I can do this!"

In a few months, we’ll be hosting a facilitator’s forum to help you do just that, if you’d like to tag along, and you’re already receiving this newsletter, then you’ll continue receiving it and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

Share this article with friends or colleagues you think will appreciate picking up a few stories and tips on facilitation, hosting, or simply paying attention to people in a way that makes them feel human.

Testing Rich Markdown editor

You won’t see the above video, however, in the editor on standard notes on Mac I can listen to the video in the standard notes app.

I can also click more → right click on share → copy video url at current time.

I can put it in brackets, and share the notes I noted around this point in time. This might change my progressive summarization flow, which currently has me using youtube and noting it directly on Obsidian


I wasn’t able to insert an image though.

  • I tried

    • Dropping and dragging
    • / and selecting the image
    • A public image from Dropbox
    • Inserting a code block didn’t work for some reason either.


So that reduces the fun aspect of summarizing in SD in this manner

The Old City

Bab el yemen

Update: Image of the Gate

What you'll read below is a snippet of my time in Yemen between the years 2011 and 2012. 

This was the first time that writing came to me easily. I captured most of my experiences in writing and photos when I had the chance to work there for a humanitarian organization. 

I hoped for you to get a view of the old city, immortalized in my sub par photography. 

Oddly enough the pictures specific to the buildings and walls were removed from Imgur, every other photograph is intact.  Luckily there is one photo that seems to have escaped, once you see it you'll know it. 

I never got the chance to visit again, and now, the place these words once described is no more.

If you have the means, please consider donating:

The Old City

Though we started the weekend (Thursday) in the office, it was more than compensated for by our journey to the old city, baab al yeman. It's the walled limits of the ancient city which contains the marketplace as well. 

Keti (in the red coat) wanted to buy a few gifts for her family as she was returning the following weekend to Georgia. She came down to get two things: table cloths, and a brass oval tea tray. She ended up buying jewellery, bed sheets, spices, and random knick-knacks. 

The traders in that market know quite well how to sell a story, though to her credit she didn't really care for the stories. They're used to selling to starry eyed tourists seeking authenticity in their finds. 

The story of Jewish Silver? Turns out they have copies and copies of the works, not sure how much Jewish Silver they have, but it looked like a lot. Their story was good as well, they had some acid handy to prove the 100% silver composition of the jewellery; any impurity would show by having the surface bubble in reaction to the mixed metals. 

I didn't bother verifying the acid story via Wikipedia, but I had to hand it to them, they made us stand there for a good 30 mins as she haggled with them. A young man leapt into the store front, excitedly ushering two young ladies to step closer and look at the jewellery. One was speaking in arabic and was a defacto translator for her Spanish speaking friend, the shop keeper without skipping a beat picked up a necklace that he was showing Keti and waved it in front of his new customers. 

The story was told in rapid fire broken Arabic, Old silver, Time of Imam Yahya, very very rare! The Spanish speaking lady wasn't having any of it, she signaled with her hands and requested her friend to ask 'How much?', he didn't need a translation, '$70' he says.......the ladies laughed out loud and walked away without looking back. 

There was one thing I found interesting, a coin they called the 'Maria', squinting at the coin you can make out the year 1780, the Wiki gives more information about it, I just started wondering how many hands it must have changed in it's 3 centuries of existence, the worlds' always been small it seems.

As you walk towards the entrance of the city gate, there are street vendors with their wares all strewn out on the ground, blankets, clothes, socks, coats for the season. It made me wonder what they'd sell during the summer months.

Looking at the gate again on the pictures, it doesn't look like it was a part of the original wall, it also has the word '22 May' in Arabic, quick search confirms the date as the day South (Aden) and North (Sana'a) were reunited in 1990...I always thought that had happened much earlier. 

Once you're past the gate there is a crush of people and the first thing you notice are the cars that drive in and push through the crowds, that and the motorcycles that snake through the people and pump the air full of noise and gas. 

The streets get narrower as you wind your way into the inclined road of the market city, our first stop was a spice vendor and his son, who was successful at not only pushing a greater quantity of Cinnammon but also convinced Keti to buy habahaan and almost convinced her of buying a kilo of almonds until he told her it was for 5000 riyals ($23). 

I'm not much of a shopper, but they had some good stuff according to the others, not sure what this purple stuff is used for though, it's called karkadiil or Hibiscus. Wikipedia says its a natural diuretic which contains vitamin C and minerals when used in tea, good for the kidneys and lowering blood pressure. 

There were other things being sold as well, my eyes kept wandering to the little trinkets to the right of the shop, they'll make good small gifts I thought. So I took a lot of pictures so that I can send pictures to anyone that'd be interested, I'm not very good at buying touristy gifts.

The next stop was a shawl/scarf/bedspread shop, this one took a good half hour but they purchased a good amount of things here. First the wall of Shawls/Pashminas, funnily enough they kept saying 'Yemeni make, Yemeni make' while Keti said "I was here before, you remember me, this is Indian, I didn't buy it last time I won't buy it now if you don't give me for less". 

Monsieur Atif used his Sudani charm to soften the barbs of the logical arguments of this determined lady. They were able to walk away with some nice bedspreads at a much lower price than they expected to, seizing the chance, they doubled up. 

These are some of the ones that caught their eye. It started with a quiet Brown and orangy type spread that was interesting and then the little shop exploded with colour, my camera does the colours no justice (neither does the shopkeepers angry khat chewing stare) because they really did dance as he unfurled and then waved them to spread. 

The night sky blues encompassed the stars, A field of green that entrapped a family of peacocks, golden sands that caught a sliver of sunset, and this last one apparently changes colour at night - it was also the softest of the set. I think they bought them all. 

I was more interested in the building walls that clearly showed that the levels were built on top of one another with a good amount of time passing in between each level's extension.

One of the men from the shop grabbed Keti's shopping bags and decided we needed guidance to the brass shop, she didn't mind, and knew he wanted to get paid (more on that later), he led us along the winding and narrow alleyways as dusk set in, turning left then right, and a few more quick and sharp turns, I'd meant to keep a mental image of the paths we'd taken so I could navigate my way next time. 

My eyes however couldn't cope with the influx of new sights they were taking in. The pace our guide kept was blistering, and the sights blurred past me so fast I couldn't focus long enough on the shops without a child running into my path or a motorcycle for that matter. The old city was pulsing with life, even as darkness set in the noise and bustle of the streets grew louder, in defiance of the darkness the shops set their generators humming, and the lights danced and reflected off of old brass plates placed all along the alley to draw in the tourists that weren't being led from store to store by the likes of our new friend.

He'd led us to the brass shop as our energy faltered, but you can't help and be amazed with the sheer amount of material they manage to stuff into the small shops. All rows and shelves are packed with material, and you have very small wiggle space, so small I couldn't stand at either end of the shop to take a picture. They sold all manner of things, Aladdin oil lamps, gilded forks, treasure chests, and scroll holders. Little receptacles that could be used as ink wells, cute little candle holders, they had many nice ones actually. I was actually trying to get the shopkeeper and the huge qat bulge in the picture, so Atif helped me out and held the candle up to his face...wasn't very discreet though, he'd keep repeating, 'here is fine? or here? how about now? better in this light?' This is Atif feeling left out. This was my favourite though, a golden horse that was part of decoration for an old fashioned weight scale.

Towards the evening we visited one last shop where I found a very old lock, I couldn't take a picture because I was haggling for a lower price on it. Before I saw the lock though I took pictures of the wares for gift ideas. I resolved to come back! I will definitely try and visit the old city again, I'm sure I've overlooked spots that I can't visit with a crowd. It really made me wish I'd invested in a camera so I'm most likely going to try and find an old looking camera shop and to grab an old school Single Lens Reflex Camera if I find film being sold anywhere.

What's your malfunction?

If this question were a character in a movie, it'd be the villain destined to prick your ego and question your self-worth in sequel after predictable sequel. The kind of movie where you instantly know the plot from watching the trailer. Yet somehow, you can't help but sit through the whole thing.

Why didn't you follow the (regulations/guidelines/unwritten rules) like I told you?
Everyone knows (regulations/guidelines/unwritten rules) it's not done that way!

These statements could have been made by one co-worker to another about something work related, it could also have been made by one spouse to another one fine Netflix evening.

Criticism, judgement, blame. 

These are the supporting characters for our villain, let's call this being "the devalorizer". These stalwart companions can be found in our modern work culture and happily make cameos in family functions, your favourite talk shows, and any scarcity or scare filled broadcast in your local news. Like the main villain, they seek to devalue you, your decisions, your worth, your identity, and pretty much anything you attach importance to. 

In terms of the workplace, you can get a whiff of them in the questions that are asked in an interview, "Tell me about a weakness you have."

They can be found trading whispers behind closed doors, in secret deciding who is worthy of an increase in compensation. 

They're found haunting your psyche, watching for any misstep, imagined or otherwise. They still make an appearance in my life.  

Why don't you teach?

A post by V.Rao titled models vs actors, argues the difference between a good question and a bad question that independent consultants need to consider. An example of a good question to reflect on in order to differentiate yourself is:

"What are the unique associations that (people) attach to me?"

    One association that I frequently hear people share with me is that of 'professor', that I could be a good teacher.  On reflection, what I believe people were responding to, was something that piqued their curiosity. Largely due to my own cocktail of 'bias' that connected a recent piece of information I had come across and wove into our conversation. Their heart was in the right place, but as I reflect on what I do well, they had the spirit of it right, but the conclusion was far off the mark. 

    What did they sense?

    3 months into my first child's life, I spent a sleepless week rehearsing and re-rehearsing a presentation that I delivered in a most nervous manner at the facilitator's forum in Austin, Texas. 

    Most memorable however is a compliment I was given by someone I'd had all of 5 minutes with. It was to the effect of "You have a very calming presence, I'm sure you're a great host". I didn't understand why she called me a 'host' when we were at a facilitator's forum. So I demurred and said I get it from my mother. It's a habit I was chastised for in the past, so I quickly corrected my error and I thanked her for the compliment. 

    What's interesting about what people identify in you, is that it represents an acknowledgment of what they have experience with.  Or put another way, it may be that people can more readily sense what they've experienced and internalized. For a peek into the difference between teaching, facilitating, and hosting, see this chart and thread below.

    Managing (in) Networks


    Listen to the people you trust.

    There are many people who are at the ready to dissuade you, they're most likely people that know you well. By that I mean, they are intimately familiar with an instance of you in a fixed point in time.  As my words unfold in your mind's eye, your synapses electrify and build connections, a testament to your constant and consistent intimate experience with change. 

    You've never been stuck in time or space, but like the people who know a shadow of yourself, it is easier to see a shadow cast long before you as objective truth, than as a momentary reflection. 

    When we pay attention, and start to notice statements of criticism, judgement and blame parading as objective truths as opposed to incomplete momentary reflections, we can begin to identify, like a bad movie, when to stop paying attention. 

    Find the people you can trust. You'll recognize them, because they'll simply listen. I hope you can do the same.

    A year, minus three fourths.

    On writing

    Hi everyone, I started writing consistently on May 30, 2019, this lasted until November 23, 2019.

    During that time, I wrote 693 notes, and published 177 of them. Rough math puts that at 25% of my writing was seen by one other person.

    On continuing

    I started writing on a whim, except, it wasn't.  I'd been playing with the idea for a few years, and this software I'm using (Standard Notes + Listed) removed remaining distractions and made it easier to publish. 

    My initial impulse was based on a call to write for one hundred days.  I ended up enjoying the process for an additional 77 days until I stopped.  It wasn't for lack of liking what I was writing about, or the process of writing.  I just didn't have a goal in mind.  I also thought I finished writing. 

    Taking stock of how much I've written, I think I've done quite well. I also believe that my cadence, doesn't necessarily have to be daily, weekly or monthly. 

    So what have the remaining 75% of notes consisted of? That's a question I won't be able to answer. However, it may emerge in upcoming pieces of writing. 

    On change

    The time from November 2019 till date has been filled with changes, some of which I have yet to internalize. That said, I think the way I write will need to acknowledge the way we drink any beverage. We have to first fill the cup. 

    Me and Money

    I've had an iffy relationship with money. I appreciate what it can do for me. I can exchange it for food, shelter, gifts, medical care etc. Otherwise I've not really cared for it.

    I think one memory from my youth, pushed me slightly over the line towards my indifference to wealth and all who pursue it.

    Once upon a summer business venture, I learned three things.

    • That people part with their money surprisingly quickly,
    • that I could be unappreciative of the people doing the labour,
    • and that I could feel entitled to the fruits of their labour. 

    It was capitalism 101, I just didn't know it yet. You see, I had government mandated permission to operate a light vehicle (a drivers license), I had access to my parents car (privilege to transport goods and provide services), and my parents credit card (privilege to rent capital). For brevity's sake, we'll set aside the fact that my parents were living off credit cards and excluded us from the realities of our financial situation.

    The people doing the labour, were my brother and his friends. You see, they wanted to make money that summer and they were in high school. Not a lot of options when you're in high school, so they signed up to work on people's lawns with a company that would put them on the back of a pick up truck (unsafe working conditions), gave them quotas, and garnished their wages according to their performance, or lack thereof.

    One of my brothers' friends couldn't believe his first pay cheque. He sensed the injustice and calculated the trios lost wages. He came up with a plan, they could do less work, for more money, and keep it all for themselves. As the older brother, I was approached because I had access to capital, a van to drive them, a credit card to rent equipment and pay gas with.

    The plan worked flawlessly, it boiled down to a few things.

    • We had to know just enough information about lawn care in spring and a tiny bit more than our customers, information that we had access to by observing the condition of their lawn.
    • We had to undersell and compare our prices to the "competition".
    • We had to present the customers with an honest assessment of what it would cost, if they did it themselves.

    They chose to pay, it was the easy thing to do. 

    10 hours of weekend work, and we hit four figures, by the next weekend, we fell apart. 

    You know what happened, don't you? We got greedy, the friend with the plan, and the man with the capital, we became entitled.

    Of course he deserved more money, he came up with the idea, and the sales script. Of course I deserved more money, I took on the risk and drove the car. We almost broke five figures, everyone had considerably more than they did before our experiment, so what was the problem?

    You see, It didn't feel fair and it wasn't transparent. We had an argument, they quit and took the bus home, us entitled two completed our work for the day, returned the machines and unceremoniously packed up and ended the nascent business.

    This memory reminded me that what I described continues to repeat itself with 'adults' who think they know better. But instead of a weekend, it turns into a lifetime of us wearing our best suits, marching into work, and pretending we're getting compensated fairly.

    I only wish we all had a fraction of the bravery my brother and his friends did. Both in pursuing an opportunity, and in walking away from it.

    We're still brothers, and they're still friends, but I've yet to apologize.

    Sorry broski, I didn't listen then, I have learned to listen now. Thank you for the memory.

    The things I do well

    For most my life, I've had a fear of creating. I've self inflicted psychological harm by giving credence to impostor syndrome, among other things. I understand now, that I misunderstood the act of creating. I thought it required originality. I no longer think this way, and it feels like a load has been lifting, thanks to, among other things, a youtube video.

    So in the spirit of remixing, I asked a few friends who I've worked with on a work project to share what they believed my strengths were. Below is what I received. 

    Empathy and research
      You have an ability to understand when and what research is required, what type of research is best fit and practical skills to actually carry it.
      Collaboration and facilitation
        Ability to design different workshops, run them and successfully work with smaller and larger groups of participants to achieve a goal
          Ability to extract and create narrative from complex processes and interactions and take stakeholders on a journey
            Building capabilities in others, be it one-on-one mentoring or enabling larger teams
            Service design tools and theory
              Knowing service design as discipline and tools and methods used, from journey mapping to service blueprinting and service prototyping
              You are analytical. You'll patiently investigate and interrogate until you achieve a complete, systemic understanding.
              You are good in peer-to-peer facilitation. Enabling a space both socially and professionally for trust, warmth and honesty.

              Note, some of it may read like it was pulled from a job advert, a demonstration of remixing in action, which helps me in the long run, ha!

              In a separate instance, I'd shied away from a compliment, to which a friend had the following to say. 

              "Moe, I think you assume yourself to be a generalist in the space but to me this is a niche. To myself and maybe even Randah this is a rabbit hole you’ve uncovered shows that you have gone deep into the matrix and this unearthing that you’ve done for yourself could be illuminating for others. I think you have a knack at finding niches and that is where you can share your knowledge and maybe even get some coffees while you’re at it. Please note I had to stop my bike ride to write this bc I thought it was important to let you know. No one can do it quite like moe."

              So where does that leave me? Well, now the magic I'll have to create is to remix these ideas people have, with my approach to different problems.  

              I'll be breaking down the things I do well over several posts. 

              1. Tomorrow's post will be about my approach to facilitation. 
              2. Followed by my time doing service design work, 
              3. and wrapping it up neatly with my experimentation with community. 

              If you have a friend looking to reinvent themselves, my thoughts may provide some value, so feel free to forward this and subsequent pieces to their inbox. 

              -ships need work


              I had the fortune of speaking with a man named Mikey. He'd offered some of his time to people seeking mentorship in tech and design through the Out of Office hours initiative. Prior to our call, he'd asked me to answer a few questions to ensure our conversation was productive, I found it a useful exercise to clarify my intent and needs. You can see the questions and my response here.

              As I was reorganizing my notes from our chat and feeling gratitude for having access to someone who cares to speak to strangers and invest some time in their development,  I started to notice the word ship at the end of mentorship. So naturally I looked it up and your instinct and mine were right, it has nothing to do with the vessel that's floating in your mind's eye. 

              The suffix was common in Old English, and is ultimately a form of the ancestor of the Modern English verb shape, in the sense 'to create; form'. Cognate suffixes are found in many Germanic languages; a form occasionally encountered is the German Wissenschaft 'science', from Wissen 'knowledge' and -schaft '-ship'.

              On -ships and the things that seem to require the most work.

              Relationships, bipartisanship, citizenship, leadership, mentorship. -ships need work, so below you'll find items I'll be focused on for the remainder of the month of June.  Included are tips and tasks I'd discussed with Mikey that will allow me to get ready for my return to D.C. and to create a way for myself to communicate my skills, the things I want to work on, and the things I can offer, as I dive deeper with an awakening world. 

              I organized this list in order of things I felt the least resistance completing to the highest resistance.

              Create a to do list
              • See Randah's method if you need ideas.
              • Build credibility by writing week notes.
                • They are weekly recaps, choose the day you'll publish, Mikey likes Tuesdays,  write out the things you've worked on, read, appreciated, or reflected on. Mikey had someone reach out and tell him that they appreciated his post and it's candor, it was also one of the reasons for this person applying for and joining his organization. 
                • When I used to publish daily, a friend of mine always reached out and I remember feeling super grateful that she read what I had to say. Even though I felt it to be inconsequential.
                • In summary, pick a day, write and post weekly.

              The three minute Pitch

              • The question Mikey had was, "How can I introduce myself to a group of people," whether it's 5 people in a room, or 500 in on a Zoom. I appreciated that he shared his struggles with me, it humanized him, and allowed me to relate, and maybe figure out ways he could solve for this. Incidentally, it was something I am also challenged by.
                • At facilitators hangout called Facilitators Backstage, I learned about a presenter who at a moments notice was able to share profound and moving stories to any audience.  The secret it seems, was that he carefully selected and crafted 20 stories drawn from the wealth of his life experiences. From these 20 stories he would remix and present a story to any audience. 
                • This begs the question, what are my 20 stories? and what are their themes?

              Writing down my process for problem solving.

              • This sounds onerous, but my mentor pointed out that it's something I likely do reflexively without giving it too much though.  
              • One way to do it as well, is to initially focus your writing on the things you like about the work that you want to be writing about.
              • He's challenged me to write it down and then speak about it out loud. So you'll find me writing about it here. 

              Don't talk like a designer.

              • "If I'm working and someone uses a designer word, i'll call them out and ask them to explain it."
              • What I heard here was, simpler words can be used to convey complex ideas, so you're really only fooling yourself if you use jargon, it's just a matter of time before you realize it.  

              Build two CVs/Resumes

              • The current CV/resume
                • Here I need to write all the things I currently do now.
                • Then reduce it to 7-8 bullet points max.
              • The 3 to 6 months CV/resume
                • edit Randah of Randah's Method called me out on something I just said I shouldn't be doing the following bullet was edited to remove acronyms. 
                • Here I need to look up roles I'm interested in, in my case it's: 
                  • Information Architecture (used to make a website's information hierarchy accessible in a way that makes sense to the majority of people), 
                  • Product Management (used to track a product from it's inception to it's delivery in an iterative manner), 
                  • Service design (what allows a product to fit in the overall picture of a task), 
                  • and User research (a way to understand why a task is important for a person) roles. 
                • Then I take the skills or responsibilities I like and add it to the future CV/resume
                • 2 bullet points are all I need, especially if it's a skill that's not related to my existing skill set (e.g. Data science), it just needs to be something I really want to have progressed towards when the 6 months have passed.
                • The next step is to work out what I need to do, and that will require the help of someone who can objectively speak with you about your work.

              That's it, nice and easy, luckily, our client has come out of hibernation so I can start writing down my problem solving process since I've forgotten what that felt like. 

              Feel free to ask me any questions on anything that stood out, I'm sure I'll have a link or two that will help with anything you ask. 

              Talk Notes

              3 days prior to the event, we created and shared a 1 minute video clip inviting people to respond to prompts via voice note for two reasons, but first the prompts. 

              The prompts we sent were - How will they Prepare their environment for the upcoming event 

              \- We asked them To reiterate what made them curious to attend 

              \- and To share what it was they wished to resolve by attending. The responses we got were powerful! Voice notes worked because, it’s not as anxiety inducing as a video recording. 

              The prompts worked because we could meet them where they are.What this allows you to do is get a sense for who is showing up way in advance. 

              If you sensitize people to this approach as being a part of the process, then you’re getting a lot of information on what seems to be top of mind. 

              Are their challenges pervasive? Or Are they a flavour of the month? You can do two things with this information. You can remove identifying information, synthesize the themes on a white board and give people access to it well in advance. Or if you have a strong sense for the people, from their responses and their voices. You can invite them into a whatsapp group and encourage them to share the responses to their prompts.

              Sonke Ahrens

              Sönke Ahrens - @soenke_ahrens

              Pronounced zstonke

              • Lives in Essen, works at Essen University.
              • My book could sound like it's about productivity. But my Main interest is in 'How to think better'.
              • Has a background in systems therapy, online coaching at the moment exclusively on zettelkasten
              • The background of the book, was partly a procrastination project, he was working on a book and struggled in finding the right tools.
              • Worked on theory of Nicholas Lumen for sometime, didn't take his method of zettelkasten seriously for a while.
              • Realised that his theories are interconnected with the idea of decentralizing the mind and using tools to improve the level of complexity of your thinking. 

              Hopes  to spare people a lot of the mistakes he made, while tinkering with ways to capture information in his head. Hopes to inspire people to take more notes, believes there's a need to challenge your own ideas, which requires an external brain.

              • Taking notes will help you having a sparing partner.
              • Presumably to challenge your own assumptions.
              • Reminds you to realize what you're actually thinking.
              • Notes make it explicit.
              • Struggle in early days of writing, was finding things again.  

              Hopes to spark discussion on how we organize higher education. Believes that Higher ed is streamlined along old ideas of you have to have a plan in hand, come up with hypothesis first then you do the work. 

              On whether he introduces zettelkasten to his students:

              • Noticed that students nearer exam either have a good note-taking habit, or wish they did. 
              • Students at the outset of a course, don't see the benefit of investing in good notes (zettelkasten), because they're not out to become professors and write books.  
              • Tied this to the legacy of the educational system they came from, where 'learning' was created in packages.
              • Strategy is to bring older students to speak with younger students, to share what the advantage is to have writing system earlier.  It's important to just write, you can adjust the process along the way.
              • Investing exercise, where people are made to act old, and it impacts their investing decisions. 

              On Luhmens system; what surprised you.

              Not much. It's fairly clear.

              On what people seek to start their process

              • There is a lack of step by step for software, which is what people seek
              • There's a misunderstanding about trying to follow a step by step process, because you need to adjust it for your own needs.
              • In terms of software, stick to what you're comfortable with, because if you invest in a whole new system, you'll switch, and switching is what costs you.
              • Academics are more interested in literature notes and references, that may not be for you/
              • Be ok with Heirarchy, it's not a problem, it just shouldn't be hard wired into the system/software

              On what people misunderstand or don't really get about the system.

              • People are hard on themselves about not having the perfect system. 
              • Also see the search for the perfect system, and punishing themselves about things not being easy
              • I'd like to see people not punishing themselves, because writing is not easy. 
              • Of course, there's always a struggle with the organization, and where do I connect this idea to others, and that's part of the system.
              • There is a feedback loop of adjusting and you might have extensive notes, and at times not enough, and it's alright.  Rephrasing difficult text in your own words is a challenge, but that's the point. 
              • The recursive process of going into whatever is challenging you is a productive process of writing, so go ahead and practice writing on the type of system you want by taking notes.

              On starting for the first time

              • What you shouldn't do is move all your notes into your system and spend  time on that. It's more about doing it differently. Don't do massive all encompassing migrations.
              • If you take old notes and want to intergrate it iwith your stystem that's fine, just do it if you're already using them. Because when you took those notes, it was for a different context, you might not be able to remember the reason you took those notes. 
              • If early on you can't make connections, then be explicit what's already on your mind, in terms of connections, which will give you a start.  
              • Start with the projects you have, the ideas you already have,
              • Start with the hierarchy / Topics
              • Luhmen started with topics, the main areas of interest, the topics overtime less and less important, just to hardwire the heirarachy into your system. 

              Digital Jubilee - Once a year, if you have a jumble of notes, file them away. 

              On not starting from the bottom up 

              • Used to write blog post by first going through hundreds of notes and collecting material.  If criteria was what is interesting, everything would make the cut.
              • Would start with dozens of notes and trimming it to the essence.
              • Now starts with, what do I know is the main idea, which is always more intuitive. Something that comes instantly to mind.
              • Goes through notes with this in mind, and looks for what he needs in his notes. 
              • Also looking at it as problems.  What can be your own contribution, and what is the problem in the area you're looking at. This gives you a focus. It doesn't need to be a formulated question. Try to put a finger on what bothers you about what the problem may be here. This makes for a good filter if done well.

              On when to file by context, not by subject

              • Questions asked
                • What is a context?
                • How do I know what my contexts are, if I don't know what I'll be working on in the future?
                • How do I know I'll want to see it again?
              • Contexts and topics aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, that said, a note put in a specific context can contribute to a specific topic. 
              • Stressed the difference to collection; If you think "what kind of topic do I file this under", this is thinking like a collector. Adding something to a collection is just additional information
              • When you ask, to which kind of discussion, to which note sequence, can this idea contribute to, you dive into the content, you think about what difference this new information makes for your previous held beliefs. Information can only make a difference in regard  to something.
              • Context is more on the content level, topic is almost always thinking about it at a higher level, as opposed to thinking within something, you're trying to think more about  the difference the new information makes to the existing content. 
              • You're not looking at keywords, or the index. You're thinking; Is it just an addition, or is it a contradiction, do I have to change what I thought before, or my previously held belief. You're trying to make this explicit. Getting as quickly as possible into the content, and not trying to think at a level above where you just sort stuff.  This is the main pitfall when collecting notes. 
              • You might want to write the note already in dialogue with pre-existing notes, treat the system as a partner, and answering the note you're connecting the new one to.  Which is very different to just collecting. 

              On the difficulty of conceptualizing the note system' purpose (visualizing context as further down from topic, 2nd order effect, usage, etc)

              • It's natural to treat any kind of software where you collect ideas as a kind of collection in the begininning 
              • Not sure it's hard necessarily, more about thinking differently, we like to collect stuff, and to feel there is more and more and more. 
              • It seems less productive to pause and think, how am I might have been wrong before. This is what I'm more interested in, "how do I discover where I am wrong, how do I reforumulate previously held beliefs, which might be less natural"
              • People tend to read what they already know, productivity people read productivity, design, design, engineering engineering etc.
              • Shocks, surprises, violates my expectation, are the books I keep.  I want to find the best attack vectors in to my existing mental model.
              • It's the challenge of the time, we're told to be open-minded, which means you'll be open to a lot of b.s. you have to 'close yourself down' be more discerning 
              • It's not about being open or close minded, how do you deal with being selective in a way that still challenges you, which is tricky, even to write about.
              • Question I ask myself is, do I want to be right, or do I want to be effective in this situation. 

              On spaced repetition (memorisation techniques), why does it seem to be the opposite of the second brain

              • I don't memorize things, I know some professions have the need, almost always the need for memorization in complete artificial settings within education.
              • You can ask yourself, if you have trouble with memorization, try to understand it a little better, have more examples, have more connections to other ideas to elaborate further on it. 
              • Believes when you have a system in place where you revisit old notes, that's a type of built in spaced repetition. 

              On theoretical questions he's pondering

              • Top of mind is how to be open minded without getting too distracted. How to work against your biases, dealing with partisanship, filter bubbles and whether education can help in solving that problem. 
              • Earlier days, top of mind was, how to get insight, what kind of environment do we need to gain insight and change our mind in a fundamental way, not a superficial way. Studied history of science, the externalization of ideas within a laboratory, and the difference between thinking with something and thinking within something. would like to elaborate more on this.

              Questions from chat

              Software, apps, and technologies

              • Playing with Roam, not fully committed 
              • The next step is to collaborate, interconnecting notes, not having stand alone nodes.

              Luhmann says to take sufficient notes on a source so you don't have to read it again, worried it slows him down too much

              • Luhmann didn't revisit because he extracted everything, he was selective and then moved on. 
              • Don't let the system impose a structure on you, the system should serve your work, should help you, it shouldn't put pressure on you to make extensive notes.  Being a professional reader doesn't mean to have a certain level of note taking. It means being able to adjust the amount of time and attention you'll pay to a text. That could mean reading the title and throwing it away, or taking a week to spend the time pouring through it and rephrasing it. Personally skips taking notes at times, sometimes does pe and paper notes, sometimes many notes for one text because its more informative.
              • It's about adjusting, if you feel like it's wasting time, maybe you should understand where to move on.
              • Don't outsource your agency to the system, it's about adaptation and evolving your existing system.


              Same home, dark outside, no lights in the home, or nothing to indicate there are lights outside. Pitch black.

              Suddenly the sky is illuminated, it’s arcs of lightening. There was recently a storm and it was beautiful, light dancing in the sky before it rained.

              It felt far away, but at closer look it was strange... the lightening storm over the water, had rays of lightening from the sky to the earth, the lightening was strung together horizontally at the top of the sky, and at the bottom where it met the earth. Shaped like prison odd...

              The lightening flashes again, this time closer, as if it was giving chase. I hear a voice echo a command throughout my dream, it reverberates, “GO!”.

              We started moving the people to hide in all the washrooms, figuring maybe, with the warning comes a fast moving lightening, with it a storm strong enough to break through the windows. The voice was commanding, primal almost. We scramble to the washrooms as the only cover in the home. With all doors almost closed I hear a more forceful, louder command. “MOVE!!!” It shook me to wakefulness.

              Tell your friends

              Hey folks, I'm going to start doing something. It's an experiment. If it succeeds, you won't hear about it from me.

              The rational is, that I realized a pattern I've been stuck in. Generate ideas, share them all, sit back, achieve none.

              What I'll do differently is invite a small group to partake in this experiment. If it provides value to them, you'll hear about it. If it doesn't, I try it differently with another small group.

              Rinse and repeat.

              A dreadfully simple process, that I commit to now following.

              That is all.

              Thank you for being here.

              Global Jam Feedback

              What went well today is
              - Interaction, meaningful conversations, direction and organization of the Jam
              - Feeling Connected to people even remotely
              - Constraints make u more creative
              - different levels of experience and points of view brings in new points of view
              - Exposure to different ideation approaches
              - The agenda the collective online co-hosting / co-facilitation
              - Jamming with the Jam, but also jamming with music! :D
              - Getting in the creative process and stepping out of fear! Discovering awesome features in Zoom Having some laughs and learning new things
              - Lots of laughter
              - Creative volunteers
              - Team engagment
              - Everyone engaged in the process, however experimental it was :)
              - Breakout rooms (divide the Join) & Joint slideshow
              -people who showed. stayed. they are committed. they are part of the tribe. i want to see more of them.
              - not being stuck alone
              - being with friends

              It would be better next time if
              - get the agenda ahead of time.
              - if we had guest Jam speakers outside our community to co-facilitate segments and host some parts ... just a new flavor ... like how Markus came in and supported
              - We have the schedule in advance
              - being online is not the same as in-person.. so possibly sharing the themes bit earlier can allow for more deliberations :) and development of concepts
              - Session to explain the design process in detail
              - We have less connection issues to do some cool musical jamming interludes! Internet please move faster!!!
              - physical proxies
              - more prototypes
              - More music!
              - Non-digital Jam ! ;)

              What stood out to you?

              - all of you people
              - people from different industries participating. we need more non-designers :)
              - the enthusiasm of the group :)
              - Connection!
              - Easy and hassle free exchange of ideas
              - Laughter
              -We were a small group but really involved! Time flew by really fast as well…
              - We were able to keep meaningful interaction online
              -The use of zoom technology and how its features enable collaboration ... we just need to practice some more
              - Easy and hassle free exchange of ideas
              - Jammers' creativity and collaboration within the constraints
              - positivity
              - mo's dj skills
              - The theme lol

              Testing a mini bio

              Hi, you found me, like you, I'm searching, but not for anything in particular. So I'd love to learn about you, and what you're searching for, I might know someone who is searching for that thing too, or maybe a book that can come along for your search. either way, know that I'll happily make the time for you, don't worry, it's not a bother, in fact, you'll be helping me feel more human.

              Mini bio

              A human, forgetful, loving, at times present, mostly curious, always positive.

              Buying a board game

              I was helping a friend purchase a gift for his 12 year old nephew. Since I like boardgames, I started rattling off the names of games I thought would fit.

              My friend was not convinced, so he kept looking for boardgames that aligned with what he resonated with, interesting looking illustrations on the box cover.

              There was a gentleman a few feet away who was also looking at the wall of games, and I could sense he wanted to help. When we acknowledged his presence, he offered his assistance.

              Here's what he did differently.

              He highlighted games that are known as 'gateways' to the board gaming hobby.

              What's a gateway game? They're games that once you've had a taste of their unique game mechanics, you were more likely to appreciate the possibilities inherent in board games.

              For example, Monopoly and risk, aren't great gateway games because an experienced player, can run away with the game, the game mechanics (or types of actions you take) are limited, and they can run long and you can feel hostage while waiting for the dominating player to complete their rounds leading to certain victory.

              I completely ignored the gateway games, and skipped ahead to games I enjoyed, that had replay value in my opinion. But gateway games are necessary, just like learning common concepts when you're familiarizing yourself with a new language, or the basic motions of a new sport.

              Why is this important.

              A friend had shared a link that I started reading, and they were trying to clarify why what they do is great. However, like me, they made assumptions, that whoever is reading their text, will have been familiarized with their 'gateway'. I was curious enough to try to better understand what they were trying to say. Which reminded me that I probably do this (ignoring the beginner's mindset) a lot. 

              So I've come up with a poem to remind myself, to reduce my reliance on assumptions. 

              You are not me, nor am I you. 

              You've learned much, as have I too.

              What is yours, may not be for me. 

              What is mine, may not be for you. 

              Bridging that gap, will always take two. 

              Your value

              What is your value?

              Is it your three thousand five hundred and fifty five dollars per month?

              Is it your two hundred thirty thousand a year; after tax? after expenses?

              How do you contribute to intangible outcomes in your society?

              Why aren't they on your LinkedIN page? Why are they hidden away? Why do you choose to perpetuate the story of salary?
              What story would you prefer to perpetuate?